Phantom Power – What it is and How it Occurs

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You’ve heard the term but what is phantom power and how does it occur?  Phantom power is electricity that is drawn by those items that you may not be using at the moment, but still draw costly energy.

Cordless appliances and tools are not usually included as phantom power abusers, because they draw regular electricity to charge.  However, they do continue to draw minute amounts of energy – phantom power, while remaining charged and ready for use. Electric baseboard or wall heaters may also draw minute amounts of phantom power even when the thermostat is turned off.

Electronics are the worse kind of phantom power users – computers, televisions, printers and other items that sleep or hibernate when not in actual use, are not turned off, but continue to draw small amounts of energy.  Most of these types of electronics have no ‘off’ button and you can often see an active light, to show that they are indeed in sleep mode.

There’s a trade off with these items that draw phantom power long after you’ve left the room, they will come on more quickly when you nudge them – they are designed to be timesavers.  But they are costing you in energy and even small amounts of phantom power can add up over a month and year.

What can you do to save energy?  Powering down computers and unplugging other items is the best way to ensure they are off and not drawing energy. Unfortunately, this is not always convenient for some items, depending on the location of the plug.


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